🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known rules about recreational & commercial drone use in Qatar (Doha). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in the Qatar Drone Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
Recreational vs Commercial drone use in Qatar
Qatar differentiates commercial & recreational drone use
🚨 For the moment, the use of drones is under the responsibility of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) & they can be contacted via:
Online: via this form
Phone: (+974) 44 557 333
Mail: Old Power PO Box 3000 - Doha - Qatar 🕔 SUN - THU 7.30 am - 1 pm
💡 Note, if you're looking to fly for recreational use, then the Qatar R/C sport center is in charge of registering and licensing you. They have an online forum where you can register and ask your questions directly.
Can I travel to Qatar with my drone?
🚨 Drones are not allowed in Qatar without permission & Doha airport is infamous for their bag checks and it seems hard to go through without being asked to open them. There might be a different outcome based on how you enter Qatar:
By Air: you should be fine if you're only having a stopover (aka you're not leaving Doha airport). You can check with Doha Airport directly via this link.
By Land: coming from Saudi Arabia might not help much as drones are also under permission use.
🚨 If you try to enter your drone without permission into the country, you might find it confiscated as for a safety measure. "If you have experienced Doha airport and entered Qatar with your drone, please share your experience in the comments"
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.
Where can I fly my drone in Qatar?
🚨 You can only fly your drone with a permission in Qatar. As each of these are purpose based, safe rules of 👍 & common sense would say nowhere else than where your authorisation specifies.
💡 Smart! Pack some spare drone batteries, you never know how close is the next power plug overseas. Also make sure you have a travel adaptor for Qatar.
Recreational & Commercial Drone use in Qatar
🚨 In both case, you will need to register & obtain a permission to fly your drone.
How to register my drone for recreational purposes in Qatar?
🚨 Note that only locals can obtain a drone license for recreational use.
You will need to apply for a license from the Qatar RC Sports Center (120 € / year)
Obtain a recreational drone license via them.
Register your at the Qatar RC Sports Center.
✅ If your drone weights less than 250 g, you might be exempt from obtaining a license to fly your drone in Qatar - see 'other resources'
🚨 Note: registered recreational drone pilots can only fly their drones in Qatar RC airfields.
How to register my drone for commercial purposes in Qatar ?
✅ Step 1, you will an approval from Qatar Armed Forces First which you have to get inform about your drone activity, date, time and why you are flying drone and for who? You will need to provide a copy of your client's order to prove your says and commercial mission.
✅ Step 2, you will need to register to the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority via this form. Complete it with all your personal information. You will need a letter from your client explaining the commercial mission if this is your first time.
🌏 If you're a foreigner, you will get a copy of this form (Part-FCO (Foreign Country Operators)) to complete which will ask you more details about your flight intentions & help local authorities to assess your request and authorize it. ✅ If all goes well for you, you will receive an Authorisation from the QCAA & here's what it looks like.
💡 An alternative could also be to rent an onsite agency's services. We've found that resolutionfilms.com can provide this service to you when in need.
How to operate a commercial drone flight in Qatar ?
✅ Congratulations! You've got to this step and registered your drone for a commercial mission in Qatar. Now you can focus on your mission;
The day before flying for the mission, you will need to coordinate with Qatar armed forces so they can send a soldier to supervise your flight and ensure you're only filming what you've been authorised to in your application form.
On flight day, you will have to call the local air traffic controller and inform them about your drone activity before taking off, then call them again once landed to confirm your mission is now completed.
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in Qatar?
The amount & scope of the fine will depend on the nature & severity of your infraction. The judges will also evaluate if you intentionally committed the infraction and/or if you had any commercial purposes to do such. As for a minimum, your drone will be confiscated.
From unofficial sources, it seems you might also risk:
some jail time
up to $10,000 fine
✅ The excellent news is that if you get a permission, you can start flying above Qatar's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:
💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our Qatar Drone Discussion Group
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.
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Come fly with me: Qatari drone regulation (interesting article)